For those of you who attended the Microsoft Virtualisation Unplugged event, at the Microsoft Edinburgh office, in association with Capito – firstly, thanks for coming along, and I hope you found the content useful. There was a great deal of content covered, and a lot to take in, but hopefully not too much! Secondly, you can pick up the slides below:
As always, if there are any questions, don’t be shy – use the contact link at the top of the blog and get in touch!
Thanks to VirtualPro for the image from the top of the new MS Edinburgh office!
For those of you who don’t know about the VHD Test Drive site, its a Microsoft site, where you can download pre-built Virtual Hard Disks, containing Microsoft OS’s and Server Applications like Exchange 2007.
These are a pretty handy selection of VHDs to have in your Library, as they’ll enable you to quickly deploy the technologies for test/dev purposes. In terms of what’s available:
All of the Windows Server 2008 VHDs are designed for Hyper-V, so you’ll need to run them on that platform. Exchange Server, Windows Server 2003 and below (on the list) are designed for Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1, and the Vista VHD is designed for Virtual PC 2007.
Justin over at the Virtual World blog has posted information around a number of upcoming clustering-related webcasts, that, if you’re a regular reader, I’m sure you’ll find interesting if you can squeeze them into your diary.
The sessions that will be available include:
Introduction to Failover Clustering (Level 100)
Presenter: Symon Perriman, Program Manager, Clustering & HA
Air Date: March 18th | Air Time: 6pm-7pm GMT
Overview: High availability, disaster recovery, fault tolerance. If these words are not in your IT department's vocabulary, your organization is probably unprepared to deal with the inevitable—server downtime. Attend this webcast to learn about Windows Server 2008 R2 failover clustering, a high-availability solution from Microsoft. Failover clustering connects servers and monitors the health of the servers and the applications running on servers. In the event of a server failure, applications can fail over to another server and continue running with minimal interruption to your mission-critical applications. We cover the basics of failover clustering in this webcast, and we provide the information to help you get a failover cluster configured and deployed in a matter of hours.
High Availability Basics with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V (Level 200)
Presenter: Steven Ekren, Senior Program Manager, Clustering & HA
Air Date: March 19th | Air Time: 6pm-7pm GMT
Overview: Virtualization is a hot topic on customers' minds. But what happens if you consolidate a number of servers into virtual machines, put them on a single host computer, and that computer fails? All your eggs are in one basket, so to speak, and users may not be able to access critical information. To avoid scenarios like this, high availability has become part of the virtualization discussion for organizations of all sizes, not just large Fortune 500 companies. Be sure you have the necessary knowledge to discuss high availability and virtualization with your customers. If you are new to failover clustering, this webcast is for you. We provide step-by-step instruction on configuring a highly available virtualization solution with Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and failover clustering features.
Failover Clustering Feature Roadmap for Windows Server 2008 R2 (Level 300)
Presenter: Elden Christensen, Senior Program Manager Lead, Clustering & HA
Air Date: March 26th | Air Time: 6pm-7pm GMT
Overview: Come and learn about all the new Failover Clustering enhancements that are going to be delivered in Windows Server 2008 R2 code name "Windows Server 7" operating system. In this webcast, we drill into incremental improvements from Windows Server 2008 to the cluster validation tool, Windows PowerShell support, the new cluster configuration program, and other exciting features.
Innovating High Availability with Cluster Shared Volumes (Level 300)
Air Date: April 2nd | Air Time: 6pm-7pm GMT
Overview: In this webcast, we provide an overview of the new Cluster Shared Volumes code name "Centipede" failover clustering feature in the Windows Server 2008 R2 code name "Windows Server 7" operating system. Join us to learn how the Windows Server cluster storage architecture is innovating to enable Hyper-V virtualization technology, a new and significant enhancement planned for "Windows Server 7" that is creating a lot of excitement. This is a session you don't want to miss.
Multi-Site Clustering with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise (Level 300)
Presenter: Ahmed Bisht, Senior Program Manager, Clustering & HA
Air Date: April 9th | Air Time: 6pm-7pm GMT
Overview: As the Windows Server operating system becomes more accepted in large-scale, high-end, mission-critical IT environments, the requirements for disaster tolerance and business continuance become more and more important. In this webcast, we discuss how you can build a fault-tolerant, high-availability server solution with Windows Server 2008 failover clustering that also facilitates disaster recovery.
I’m sure they’ll be recorded if you don’t get chance to catch them first hand, but obviously you won’t be able to ask questions in the recording, so it might be worth making the time to watch it. If I had to pick my top webcasts, I’d say the bottom 3 should be on your hit list.
Now, before you get too excited, calm down, this isn’t one of my videos, but frankly, it’s too good not to share.
The guys in the US (one of them is from the UK! – Go UK!) have produced an excellent video that really showcases the technologies within the System Center family, coming together in a very dynamic way. I have to be honest, when I first watched it, I was incredibly impressed. I’ve not quite got up to the level of building something as complex as this scenario just yet, as my System Center knowledge isn’t as great as these guys, but it sure gives me something to aspire to, plus really showcases some great features within the technologies.
I guess my only issue with the video is the resolution – hosting videos on YouTube or Soapbox are great, but they don’t allow you to see the fine detail in some of the demo videos, unlike on blip.tv which is my site of choice.
Anyway, enough chat, and here’s the video:
Video: TDM-level SMSE Dynamic IT Demo Video 17 min 58MB
Following up from my previous post, announcing that you could sign up to be notified when the Beta was available to download, I’m pleased to say that you can now go ahead and download it! Rakesh has the details on his blog too.
It’s going to be a big download, and you’ll need to fill in a survey to access the bits, but you should be in there in a few minutes.
Grab the download from here.
Normally, I get my release information from internal sources, however on this occasion, Patrick, from the MVUG blog, emailed me with the news! The SCVMM 2008 R2 (Beta) signup process is now online! You can sign up to be one of the first to get access to the beta bits, by going to this link. Before you do that though, don’t you want to know what the R2 is all about?
Well, as Patrick details in his post:
System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (VMM) is a comprehensive management solution for managing virtualized infrastructure running on Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V, Virtual Server 2005 R2 and VMware ESX through Virtual Center. Recently, Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta was released which included significant feature improvements to Hyper-V - the underlying hypervisor platform. A corresponding beta version of VMM R2 – the next version of VMM – is due for release shortly. VMM R2 Beta leverages the new platform enhancements and extends the feature set of VMM 2008. This overview highlights the most important new and significantly enhanced features in the VMM 2008 R2 Beta:
Support for new features of Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta
Enhanced storage and cluster support
Streamlined process for managing host upgrades
Other VMM 2008 R2 Beta enhancements
Again, you can sign up for notifications here.
As mentioned in my previous post, a number of the features for the next release of App-V, namely version 4.6, have been announced, however this post focuses on the availability of the App-V 4.6 Technical Adoption Program (TAP).
As mentioned in my previous post, there are a number of new features within version 4.6, and these are summarised below:
We need your help! Participants in the App-V 4.6 TAP will partner with the App-V product team to validate the product through production deployments prior to its release.
What are the benefits of being part of a TAP?
Requirements for participating in the App-V 4.6 TAP
The App-V 4.6 TAP will be offered to customers/partners who will agree to the program terms specific to the product’s pre-release validation. The customers will need to deliver and engage per the program commitments. If customers do not deliver on their commitments then they will be asked to withdraw their engagement.
For all the details, take a look at this document:
If you’re interested, make sure you sign up before the closing deadline of March 24th. There aren’t a huge number of places, so if you’re interested, make sure you register quickly. You can register, and get all the information you need, over on the Connect website.
Now I don’t think I talk about Application Virtualisation enough on this blog - whenever I see the technology, I always think ‘now that is cool stuff’, and Partners/Customers tend to agree, but, for those of you not in the know, what it is?
Well, the best way to think about Application Virtualisation, or, in Microsoft speak, App-V, is as a different way of packaging an application, so that when it’s deployed to a target end-point, i.e. a client OS like Vista, or XP, it’s never actually installed, and doesn’t conflict with other applications that may already be installed, or, that have also been streamed down to the target using App-V too. In a nutshell, App-V is designed for App to App compatibility.
Version 4.5 shipped a while back, and brought some interesting new features, of which you can read about here: http://blogs.technet.com/softgrid/archive/2008/09/03/microsoft-application-virtualization-4-5-rtms.aspx and if you want more information on how App-V actually works, you can grab that, here: http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/appv/techoverview.mspx
In terms of benefits, Customers using App-V today are already realising the many of the benefits of the product. Some examples include the reduction in application compatibility test cycles, the increased speed at which they can package and deploy applications to their end users and the flexible deployment options.
So, what’s new?
From the MDOP blog:
App-V 4.5 CU1
I’m guessing CU stands for Compatibility Update, or something similar – basically, CUI for App-V 4.5 brings in Windows 7 compatibility, so you’ll be able to continue testing and evaluating Windows 7 client, yet be able to roll out virtualised applications onto that platform too. Using the combination of technologies could really help to streamline and ease your rollout of Win 7, especially if you’re leapfrogging Vista to get there. Start testing and sequencing your apps now! App-V 4.5 CU1 also contains a small number of improvements such as instant access or removal of applications assigned to end users. Anyone using 4.5 can grab CU1 from the Connect website.
This is the next release of App-V, and brings new features including x64 client support. This is a big step forward for App-V, and is a feature requested by many. The technology update isn’t available just yet, but will be available on the Connect website, sometime very soon. The MDOP blog states Q1 2009, and seeing as we’re in the 3rd month of Q1, I guess it’ll appear within the next few weeks! Keep an eye on the MDOP blog to be sure.